Originally Posted by doublem23
That would be taking the short-term, win now at all costs view that KW employed the last few years that has left this team in such a weak position. Sure, I wouldn't have minded to keep AJ around if the Sox could have found a way to move him around defensively and kept everyone fresh, but they need to see what they have in Flowers. AJ's time as an everyday, productive player are closing, the Sox's budget restraints and completely barren farm system mean they probably won't have an open window to be a real force in the AL again for another 2-3 years. Keeping AJ over developing younger players during the years leading up to that window doesn't help the Sox accomplish anything when the window opens. And frankly, comparing AJ's age-35 season that will go down as clearly the best of his career against Flowers' year when he played maybe once per week is just completely idiotic logic. Using that method, you would never replace veteran players with prospects until the expensive vets broke down or retired. Smart teams let veteran players walk before they melt down. They don't make the mistake of relying on them for too long while neglecting developing replacements. That doesn't mean I think Flowers will ever develop into the player AJ was, but there's a very, very real chance that in 2014 or 2015, Flowers will be a better catcher than AJ is. But we're not going to find that out if Flowers is still riding the pine all week for the next 2 seasons.
I grade Hahn so highly because I think he's doing an excellent job of setting the Sox up for success in a few years. Peavy's new deal can expire at the same time Rios and Dunn are off the books as well, meaning they will be able to maximize the amount of free cash which hopefully coincides with an internal promotion or two from an improving farm system. Add that they will now likely be paying under retail prices on a true ace pitcher in Sale for the next 7 seasons and you have a superstar to build around when the team is ready to compete.
Are the Sox in a great position to compete with Detroit in 2013? Probably not, but again, if anyone thought Hahn could magically reshape this roster overnight, they were delusional to begin with. But do the Sox potentially look like a team that can be force by maybe 2015? That's a real possibility. I know sports fans are not the most patient bunch but with a team on the verge of going through a major cycle or roster turnover, you have to take the long view with moves that Hahn makes for probably this and next off-season. Rome wasn't built in a day. Championship caliber baseball teams usually aren't, either.
It's really hard to predict what players an organization is gonna collect in the future, but I'm not all that high about the future. We're really really old. In 2015, yeah we'll have Dunn, Rios, and Peavy off the books, but replacing their production from within isn't exactly something our organization has been sterling at. We're currently sitting with one top 100 prospect. The top end talent, especially on offense, has got to come from somewhere. Unless Hahn is getting in a bidding war for free agents, in 2015 this team is shaping up to have some really serious issues.